Getting home safe from the dance

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Although a few minor changes have altered the year-end celebration that is prom over the years, one thing has remained the same; parents want their kids home safe.

With it being so close to the end of this step before taking the next stride in their lives, whether it be college, military or right to the workforce, parents like Creed Roberts understand that one simple decision could change the entire trajectory of a student’s life.

“Getting this far, all you need is one mess up to screw up their lives right at the end of the gig,” he noted.

Roberts has already endured through one prom with his oldest son Cord who graduated in 2013. His youngest son, Clay, will be participating this year before his daughter, Courtney, goes through the same theatrics in three more years.

“It’s tough because you want them to have fun but they’re only 17, 18-years-old, they still don’t quite get it … they still think they’re invincible,” Roberts said.

The Sealy ISD School Board Trustee mentioned he and his wife have been bringing up all of their children to make the right decision and, along with similar parents, have been reciprocated with an open line of communication where they can trust their students.

“For the most part, everyone is pretty communicable with their parents and we get the ultimate yes or no anyway,” Roberts stated.

He added that being in a small town, word gets around quickly and even if there were a hidden agenda that kids were trying to execute, there’s likely someone who already knows what’s going on.

“Teachers and parents know things, they see things and more often than not, they know what the kids are planning to do before they do it,” Roberts said.

He went on to say that the after-prom events are where a majority of those worries come into play with the end of the dance signaling a free-for-all where just about anyone can go anywhere.

But, just as the students have prepared weeks in advance on how their hair will look with the dress or where they’re going to take pictures, parents will also get together to strategize how things will go down, and Roberts added he’s enjoyed that part.

“We try and provide a safe haven for these kids and just try to be a parent,” he noted. “The big thing is that we want to keep them off the roads especially if they’re trying to go far like to Corpus Christi, there’s just too much that can happen.”

So instead, Roberts cited a campfire example where kids can safely hang out and be together and continue celebrating in a safe manner.

And that’s the overall goal of this whole thing anyway, to celebrate the achievement of finishing high school.

Roberts brought up the fact that many of these students have truly grown up together and have shared experiences, both positive and negative, and this is the time to get together once more and re-live some of those memories.

Part of being able to keep those memories forever is by taking pictures which has turned into its own event over the years.

Roberts explained how when he was gearing up for his prom just a few years ago, there would be maybe one or two couples who snap a couple pictures quick before grabbing dinner and hitting up the dance floor for the next three or four hours.

Now, a group of couples exceeding double digits in some cases now converge on one location for a barrage of camera clicks and flashes before piling into a bus and finding a meal.

But the other side that Roberts felt has changed is the duration at the actual prom itself now only taking up about an hour or two of the night before the rest of the festivities get underway.

He added that it has become more of a social event altogether that has, in turn, increased the pre-production efforts while decreasing the time spent at the function hall.

But as previously mentioned, it is indeed a celebration of a very worthy cause that only happens once and will never be deserving of taking an unnecessary risk.

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